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In The Eye of the Hurricane

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Have you noticed? It's getting quieter---and it's terrifying.

Day by day, I roll through the outstanding journalists, well-represented at Truthout.com, among other sites. I read Tom Englehard's interview with James Carroll, a former Catholic priest who made his bones by speaking out against the Viet Nam War, and for reasons that were not dissimilar to our plight today. Tom portrays a very convincing picture of James Carroll, as a Catholic and a former collegiate, who is convincing us that Bush sees himself as a religious icon, grabbing the mantle from The Almighty, on a religious crusade, as a born-again Christian. Now we know for sure.

Brilliant interview. Just brilliant. Are there any suggestions as to what we can do with this vision, what action is indicated?

Oh, sorry. I must've slept through the answer?

Jeb Rubenfeld, of the New York Times recalls his evaluation of Judge Mukasey, before whom Rubenfeld had appeared when he was an Assistant United States Attorney. He was speaking of his evaluation of Judge Mukasey as nominee for the position of Attorney General. The Judge had come out with the most extraordinary statement, (Quoting Rubenfeld quoting the judge)

"was asked whether the president is required to obey federal statutes. Judge Mukasey replied, 'That would have to depend on whether what goes outside the statute nonetheless lies within the authority of the president to defend the country.'”

  Rubenfeld, who holds a professorship of Constitutional Law at Yale, in his article "Lawbreaker" states emphatically that

"Under the American Constitution, federal statutes, not executive decisions in the name of national security, are “the supreme law of the land.” It’s that simple. So long as a statute is constitutional, it is binding on everyone, including the president.

Brilliant. Devastating.

And what, you may ask, is this Yale Law Professor's sage advice?

"But before voting to confirm him as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, the Senate should demand that he retract this statement."

Has the full implication of that statement struck you? Summed up in the schoolyard challenge, "You take that back!"

This response speaks volumes---both for the lack of vision as to what can be done, as well as the utterly meaningless nature of his solution:

"You take that back!" 

We have seen this Imperial President issue edicts, proclamations. He is "the Decider."  We have seen the decimation of Habeus Corpus and the summary abandonment of Posse Comutatus, as evidenced by the use of Blackwater mercenaries and National Guards. We have seen legislators perorate, obfuscate, concilliate, mediate.... And what have they done to help us out of this quandry?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing. They go home--with a handsome paycheck. You go home, lucky if you still have one--paycheck or home, take your pick.

The legislature goes on its merry way, having sold us out, and being eager to be re-elected to do more mischief, or at least to allow Executive and Judicial mischief to continue.

"Impeachment is off the table," our Speaker informs us. This is a person from the Party of Peace and Love, in whom, and by a vote, we entrusted our lives, fortunes and sacred honors--to reverse the juggernaut.

Imagine: While the citizenry holds its communal breath, waiting for The "I" Word, there is no explanation, just a simple declarative statement, couched in Auctioneer's vernacular. One wonders why she saw fit to say anything at all. Perhaps she correctly anticipated the outrage that would ensue if the truth had to be forced out of her, all the worse--for her.

...and these legislators go home, with a paycheck.

"Write to your Senator and congressperson immediately!" So we are jarred into action---of writing that which will be trashed upon arrival. Better yet, we are treated to some carefully-parsed form letter, fashioned by some smug staffer and signed by the boodle by their respective legislator. I honestly don't think they have the stomach to hear the letters read out loud.

Take a greater turn back into perfidy and observe the behavior of the Supreme Court, the highest arbiter of justice, literally, the Court of Last Resort. The nature of their abuse of responsibility makes us wax nostalgic over the Dred Scott decision. (At least the Chief Justice, speaking for the Majority, said that it was the Law of the Land.)

Each and every move of this administration is a dark mirror image of what William Shirer described so clearly, so crisp and sharp, in "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich."

But that's all over now, isn't it? Or is it?

How about the State Department? In "Two Reports Assail State Department Role on Iraq Security" by Eric Schmitt and David Rohde, of October 23rd, 2007 the authors opine:

"Washington - A pair of new reports have delivered sharply critical judgments about the State Department's performance in overseeing work done by the private companies that the government relies on increasingly in Iraq and Afghanistan to carry out delicate security work and other missions.

   "... A State Department review of its own security practices in Iraq assails the department for poor coordination, communication, oversight and accountability involving armed security companies like Blackwater USA, according to people who have been briefed on the report. In addition to Blackwater, the State Department's two other security contractors in Iraq are DynCorp International and Triple Canopy."

Notice the careful wording: Oh, it's not "just" Blackwater. Funny, but I never heard a word about "Dynacorp" and "Triple Canopy" atrocities. In fact, I never heard anything about them, period. With Blackwater goons slaying everyone in the neighborhood on numerous documented occasions, somehow "sharply critical judgments" just doesn't cut it. And does "overseeing work" include turning a blind eye to slaughter of innocents?

Somehow, I don't think that we can rescue anyone, Iraqi, American, or what-have-you, by reference to "poor coordination, communication, oversight and accountability involving armed security companies like Blackwater USA," as If we could only get these folks to coordinate, communicate, oversee and account for something, we can hang up our spurs that jingle-jangle-jingle. "Like" Blackwater? Name any other atrocity--that matches Blackwater in perfidy and indiscriminate slaughter.

...and these writers go home, and collect a paycheck.

Have you seen anyone suggest a scheme that might work? Like a boycott of specific oil pumps, and the use of those that do not sell Arab oil. British Petroleum comes to mind: like an organized recall election of key congresspersons and subsequent nomination of one of us---remember? The People?

In this regard it is instructive to see that those who write are speaking in broad, political-philosophic terms. Never in recent years have I see such a plethora of writings, referring to Madison's papers, Jefferson's letters, quotes from our Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to our constitution.

It's getting quieter and quieter. The Big Question is: Is this the end---or just the eye of the Hurricane.

 

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/

Previously Staff Physician, California Department of Corrections
43 years in practice
writer on Social, Jewish and Medical issues
pilot, skiier, and perpitetic philosopher
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